News story

Driving the Innovation Code into action

New and emerging technologies often require innovation in skills delivery. Gateshead College has certainly embraced this vision with the partnership it has forged with Nissan Motors UK.

Driving the Innovation Code into action
Driving the Innovation Code into action

Nissan is renowned for its links to the North East car industry, and its Sunderland plant won the contract to manufacture 50,000 all electric cars per year, known as the Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family (LEAF) car.

It was evident that existing qualifications in the field did not provide what was needed, which led to Gateshead College visiting Nissan’s headquarters in Japan to capture best practice and develop a new bespoke qualification.

The College worked closely with Nissan’s training team and the awarding body EMTA Awards Limited (EAL) to contextualise learning materials and develop two courses:

  • Electric Vehicle 1 (EV1)
  • Electric Vehicle 2 (EV2)

The focus of the courses was to gain an insight into the whole product cycle from manufacture to sales, after care and recycling - with the objective of equipping the Nissan workforce with a range of new skills.

To date, 540 people have completed the EV1 and 54 completed the EV2.

Learners have reported that understanding the whole EV picture enables them to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently.

The qualification was developed with part funding through the Skills Funding Agency’s Innovation Code and additional funding from Nissan.

The success of the learning outcomes for Nissan’s employees has created interest with other motor manufacturers who face similar challenges in the production of electric vehicles.

Mick Brophy, Managing Director of business, innovation and development at Gateshead College said:

This is a great example of education and industry working together to meet a specific business need. As a trusted partner of Nissan, we had unprecedented access to their base in Japan, giving us a terrific insight into their working practices. This allowed us to work together to develop training aligned to their processes and quality standards.

Barbara Spicer, Interim Chief Executive of the Agency said:

This is where the Innovation Code comes into its own. It allows a college or training organisation to deliver the provision that is needed in their area, without having to wait for a new qualification to be developed – a true ‘rapid response vehicle’. It is about making sure that individuals receive training that is likely to lead to employment; such as an Apprenticeship, or progression within their current place of employment.

Published 3 April 2014